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Magic Pie - Motions Of Desire CD (album) cover

MOTIONS OF DESIRE

Magic Pie

 

Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 260 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars As the new renaissance of the progressive rock 90s churned on into the new millennium, it seems everyone was getting in on the act and the Scandinavian countries of Europe produced more than their fair share of some of the best new acts to emerge in the newer waves of the progressive rock world. Norway's MAGIC PIE was one of many to take the retro approach which adopted as many styles from the golden era and piecemeal them together into a fine tapestry of tradition all the while keeping the updated stylistic approaches and superior production values in full play. The band began as a cover band but soon gained enough confidence to begin crafting their own compositions out of the templates of the past masters. They soon released their debut album MOTIONS OF DESIRE in 2005 which was touted as being one of the best prog releases of the year and successfully gained them an instant following by those who would become instantly addicted to their heavy organ drenched riffs and rhythms in well-crafted musical territories where catchy earworms danced side by side with choppy angular prog accoutrements that harkened a blast from the past while tacking on the current passions of the present.

MAGIC PIE is a sextet coming from the south-eastern city of Østfold on Norway's eastern border with Sweden, another nation of seemingly endless musical talents that contributed to the fully fueled prog revival in the 90s with talents such as Ånglagard and Anekdoten. Each musician is a master of his respective instrument with Kim Stenberg leading the way with his crafty guitar oriented songwriting structures feeling equally at home on both happy-go-lucky rhythmic chord strumming or sizzling face-melting solos. Another prominent feature of the MAGIC PIE experience is the prominent use of the dreamy keyboards which emulate organs, mellotrons and all the atmospheric aspects of classic 70s prog. Gilbert Marshall, while a virtuoso in his own right on the keys is in no way a Keith Emerson type but rather focuses on the more ambient textures of Genesis' "Wind & Wuthering" era as well as Deep Purple type hard rock keyboard bombast. There are also many sections that would feel right at home on neo-prog albums as the textures often are superimposed on the band to augment a heightened melodic counterpoint. MAGIC PIE also employs two vocalists. Both Erik Hanssen and Allan Olsen complement each other as they sing in unison or cleverly craft madrigal polyphonies that offer nods to Gentle Giant without sounding like total ripoffs.

MOTIONS OF DESIRE is a lengthy beast consisting of eight tracks clocking in at almost 75 minutes. The opening track "Change" is a truly ambitious monster of a prog track clocking in at over twenty minutes and zigzags through many moods, textures and musical parades, however like the rest of the album is based in melodic rock that is more heavy than not that to me sounds like it inspired by some of the 70s classics like Mott The Hoople, David Bowie and other melodic rock giants, at least in compositional structuring. MAGIC PIE doesn't just stop with their melodic roots as the template but its how they build upon these different riffs and rhythms, tones and timbres and construct some of the most emotional drenching meets technically demanding tracks that have both the ability to weasel their way into your consciousness with their hooks but also bedazzle with their technical wizardry that not only delivers frenetic guitar and keyboard solos but run the gamut of completing the prog lover's workshop course by including crazy time signature change segments as well as polyphonic visions of 70s prog perfection.

Overall i find MAGIC PIE has that post-Morse Spock's Beard or Flower Kings symphonic prog sound as they carry out sprawling melodic segments that morph into different ones at least for the mellow and dreamier aspects of the album such as the neo-prog sounds of the title track and "Dream Vision. The band are perfectly capable of dishing some heavier parts and tracks with the highlight coming on the lightning technical speeds and bombast of "Illusion & Reality - Part III: Final Breath" with all the modern day virtuosity you could ask for. There are also parts such as the alternating rhythms in "Change" that display a rather flamenco rhythmic flare as well as ska rhythms emerging periodically. MOTIONS OF DESIRE contains an additional track "Full Circle Poetry" that is just over fourteen minutes in length as well as a sprawling three part themed chunk of time dedicated to "Illusion & Realty" that between the three tracks hit over the eighteen minute mark which gives this album all the pomp and overweening progitude that caused the genre to peak and ultimately decline during the heyday. MAGIC PIE unapologetically resurrects these ambitious attributes in full glory and runs away with it.

MAGIC PIE seems to catch a lot of flack for seemingly being "souless" and "insincere" as they unapologetically borrow riffs and rhythms that pinpoint to a time in the past but i can't help but to really love this one. Every track flows with the perfect amount of all ingredients finding their way into the mix. While the music isn't designed to create a new direction in prog, it certainly succeeds extremely well in stitching all of the ingredients together and making a bona fide retro prog sound that i find pleasing from beginning to end. I enjoy all the musician's idiosyncratic plays on the past masters as well as the more sophisticated approach of adapting them to the modern age. Both vocalists work in tandem and it's usually impossible to distinguish that there are indeed two vocalists participating. With a knack for interesting compositional zigzags through stylistic changes that intuitively keep the tracks exciting, i find MOTIONS OF DESIRE to be an excellent piece of modern prog that straddles the perfect fence that divides the dreamy folk placidity and the heavy energetic rocking side of their style. MAGIC PIE are genii at melodic flow as they manage to create a super lengthy album (a feature i usually shy away from) and keep me entertained on repeated listens. Strong melodies, strong compositions with respectful reverence to tradition. My kinda album!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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